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Oregon misses Gov. Brown’s million-booster deadline for January

Gov. Kate Brown announces the availability of booster vaccines to specific populations of qualifying people in Oregon, during an online press conference, Sept. 28, 2021. The governor will host an online press conference at noon on Dec. 17, 2021.
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Gov. Kate Brown announces the availability of booster vaccines to specific populations of qualifying people in Oregon, during an online press conference, Sept. 28, 2021. The governor will host an online press conference at noon on Dec. 17, 2021.

The Oregon Health Authority says the state fell well short of its January goal for booster shots.

Back in December, as the omicron variant of the coronavirus started to sweep through Oregon, Gov. Kate Brown set a goal to get COVID-19 booster shots in the arms of 1 million more people in the state by the end of January.

That was in addition to more than 945,000 people who had already gotten boosters before Brown’s Dec. 17 announcement.

But the state only got to 504,000 more – barely halfway to that million-booster target.

Oregon’s vaccination and booster rates are higher than a lot of states. The state ranked 8th in the country for the highest rate of boosters, according to a health care website that analyzes federal data. Among fully vaccinated Oregonians, more than 48% have gotten boosters.

State health officials say that Oregonians are also “more faithful” to following COVID-19 protective measures, such as wearing masks. Officials say those steps mean the omicron peak for hospitalizations is likely to not be as bad as initially forecast.

The projected peak of COVID-19-related hospitalizations amid the current surge is now estimated to be around 1,200. Just a week ago, forecast models showed that peak could be around 1,500 hospitalizations.

State health officials say without such widespread adherence to the safety protocols, the peak could have been as high as 1,900 COVID-19-related hospitalizations.

Copyright 2022 Oregon Public Broadcasting. To see more, visit Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Rob Manning has been both a reporter and an on-air host at Oregon Public Broadcasting. Before that, he filled both roles with local community station KBOO and nationally with Free Speech Radio News. He's also published freelance print stories with Portland's alternative weekly newspaper Willamette Week and Planning Magazine. In 2007, Rob received two awards for investigative reporting from the Associated Press and Society of Professional Journalists, and he was part of the award-winning team responsible for OPB's "Hunger Series." His current beats range from education to the environment, sports to land-use planning, politics to housing.